Two people are now in custody. Many witnesses said they heard shouts of ‘Allahu akbar’. Was this to lead people off the trail? Was this a Muslim on Muslim attack?
Police have arrested two students – one ‘of Moroccan origin’ – over the murder of six people shot dead in the Quebec City mosque carnage a day after Canada‘s Prime Minister condemned Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Gunmen opened fire on worshippers as they prayed at Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center at around 8pm last night in an attack branded ‘cowardly’ and ‘barbaric’.
Witnesses claimed the masked killers shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ in what sounded like a Quebecois accent as they went on the rampage, killing six and leaving eight injured.
A witness, told CBC's French-language service:
"They had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and they yelled, 'Allahu akbar!' #Quebec
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) January 30, 2017
Police have arrested two people with one said to be ‘of Moroccan origin’ and both understood to be students from Quebec’s Université Laval.
The shooting unfolded after a weekend which has seen US President Donald Trump‘s divisive and controversial ‘Muslim immigration ban’ spark widespread protests across America. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had said that his country remains open to all immigration, insisting ‘diversity is our strength’.
— RT (@RT_com) January 30, 2017
One attack suspect was detained at the mosque and the other was caught after a chase that ended near l’île d’Orléans around 15 miles from the scene. There are reports this morning that one suspect called emergency services to ‘confess to his crime’ because he ‘felt bad’ about the atrocity and wanted to shoot himself.
According to Le Soleil, the 27-year-old’s Mitsubishi was pursued towards Félix-Leclerc highway before he stopped the vehicle himself. He is said to have had at least one handgun and two weapons ‘that resembled AK-47s’ on his back seat. The same website says searches have since taken place at two addresses in the city.
This morning, one of the victims was named as Abdelkrim Hassen, a married father of three who worked in IT for the government. Trudeau has described the mass killing as a ‘terrorist attack on Muslims’.
There are reports this morning of the ‘carnage’ that unfolded inside the mosque with eyewitnesses saying the attackers wore black cagoules.
Hamid Nadji said friends inside the building had told him one victim ‘had a weapon discharged in his face’ when he tried to jump on an attacker.
‘Three others died because they wanted to catch the man,’ Nadji told 24hours, adding that he had been told one assailant left the mosque twice to reload his weapon.
Earlier, a witness said that up to three gunmen had burst in to the mosque, firing on about 50 worshippers. Most of those inside the building were men praying on the ground floor while women and children were upstairs, it has been reported.
‘Tonight, Canadians grieve for those killed in a cowardly attack on a mosque in Quebec City. My thoughts are with victims & their families,’ Trudeau wrote on Twitter.
‘I’ve just spoken with Premier Philippe Couillard and am being briefed by our officials. We have offered any and all assistance needed.’
A large number of heavily armed police responded to the scene and according to local media the president of the mosque said that dozens were injured. Police have secured the peremeter and occupants have been evacuated according to Le Soleil.
‘There are many victims … there are deaths,’ a Quebec police spokesman told reporters.